In his Economic Update speech to the House of Commons this week, Rishi Sunak has highlighted the “further significant economic impact” of the current national lockdown.
The Chancellor also noted that the government is “extending and increasing [its] financial support … providing a bridge for people and businesses until the economy reopens, and to give them the chance to rebuild productive capacity.”
The latest of those increases, announced last week, were:
- For hospitality, leisure and retail businesses: one-off top up grants worth up to £9,000 per property during the current lockdown
- For businesses not eligible for those grants: a discretionary fund for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations (i.e. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
This follows the coronavirus support extensions announced less than a month ago on 17 December:
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was extended by a further month to 30 April. The scheme will continue to pay 80% of wages up to £2,500 for the hours that furloughed or flexi-furloughed employees don’t work. Employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions
- As a consequence, the Job Support Scheme will start on 1 May at the earliest
- Application deadlines for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme were extended by a further two months to the end of March
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme also remains open until the end of April.
Next month will mark a year since Rishi Sunak became Chancellor of the Exchequer. A month after that, he will present his second Budget speech on 3 March.
As mentioned in our recent year end tax planning webinar, it’s not easy to predict what that Budget will contain, amid so much uncertainty. What is certain is that people and businesses across many sectors will be looking to the government for continued support to ease the financial symptoms of COVID-19.
Our coronavirus hub has information on the government’s full range of support schemes. We are also pleased to help you with any specific guidance, including use of CJRS to furlough or flexi-furlough employees: please get in touch with your usual BKL contact or use our enquiry form.